Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ailie Eden

I started this post on the morning of the 16th:


Just: ugh.

I had my 39 week prenatal on Tuesday.  As I suspected: nothing doing.  Cervix completely closed, no dilation.  I mentioned to my doctor that I still sometimes suspect that Newbie's head is creeping up on my right side.  

When my doc examined me, she couldn't even FEEL the head, it was so high.  This was new.  She ordered an ultrasound on the spot to see if baby was in position.  I texted J that we were obviously having a headless child.  

Luckily, Newbs head is down, though where the hell is it in there?  I know I have a long torso; but damn, child - how high could you possibly be?  

Still feeling fine, the ultrasound tech of doom said, "Whoa!  I have the baby at NINE POUNDS AND THIRTEEN OUNCES."  

Two weeks ago, she clocked Newbie at 7-13.  

One would assume baby's head is so high because it is so ENORMOUS there is nowhere else for it to be.  

I left the room.  I was put in the hall so I could reconvene with the doc.  I promptly commenced crying.  

How am I supposed to deliver you, Newbs?

So my doctor and I discussed my options.  My due date was 8/19, and with no signs of labor AT ALL, plus the baby's position, she didn't believe an induction would be successful.  Factor in the projected size of our beloved, and terms like "shoulder dystocia" were tossed about.  I cried some more.

My doc assured me that sonograms were notoriously wrong when attempting to predict the baby's size, but she still thought Newbie was at least 8 1/2 pounds by now.  She assured me my baby was safe and sound, and that if I wanted to wait for labor to begin, I could.  But she didn't want me to wait too long.  I could schedule a c-section for Thursday (8/16) or Monday (8/20).  I'm still a bit flummoxed that a c-section is so easy to schedule.  Welp, this kid might be pretty large.  Slice me open!  

I struggled.  My first baby was 7 lbs, 13 ounces.  He was 10 days early, but still.  What was going on with this new kid?  What was the right thing to do?

After much thought and discussions with J, my mom, my sister-in-law, and Koos, I decided that I would wait until my due date to go into labor, but schedule the c-section for the following week in the meantime.  I scheduled my 40-week prenatal for Monday, 8/20, and the c-section for 8/21.  I reasoned that even if I didn't go into labor, my body would start working its magic by Monday's appointment, and I hoped an induction would then be possible.  (Even though in some respects, induction makes me more nervous than surgery.)

As I was working all of this out on Thursday morning, I noticed some changes had happened overnight.  I felt a telltale heaviness in my belly that hadn't been there the day before.  I told J about it that AM.  We were both pleased that I was making some progress.

The morning wore on, and as I was getting ready to hop in the pool with H and my brother Ry (who got into town the previous Saturday), another labor sign miraculously appeared, of the - forgive me, squeamish readers - mucus variety.

I was ridiculously excited!  I called Koos, who gently reminded me that it could still be a few days to weeks. Undeterred, I was sure that the two signs together meant baby was on the way.


Around noon, I started timing the contractions.  Just for fun, as they weren't yet painful.  At first they were 20 minutes apart, then 10.  They started to get uncomfortable.  I put H down for his afternoon nap, and then escaped to the bathroom to shower and get dolled up.  I knew it was time, and I wanted to ensure I looked good.  That could help, right?

I took one last belly pic.  I texted J that things were getting very "labor-y" over here, but I didn't even call him.  My first labor and delivery lasted 40 hours (seriously, you guys), so I figured I had plenty of time.  Ry and I retreated to the playroom and watched the end of Cinderella Man.  I kept timing contractions, and they were less than 10 minutes apart now.  Still, not quite painful.  I called J, as he hadn't responded to my text.  As it turns out, he hadn't seen it.  He told me he was on his way home.  I told him to be sure to pick up pizzas; I was going to want to eat before we left.

And then, at 3 PM, it turned.  It had happened like that with Hendrik.  With H, I had been having contractions since 10 PM on Saturday night, and at 3 PM on Sunday it got REAL.

I called J.  I needed him to get home quickly, to help me.  By this time, H was awake, and Ry was distracting him in the playroom.  I was laboring in our bedroom, crouching and moving and trying to find a comfortable position to tolerate the painful spasms.  By 4, I called J again.  "Get home," I said through gritted teeth.  "We're leaving as soon as you walk in the door."  The contractions were 5 minutes apart.

An excited J walked in the door soon after.  H and Ry came downstairs, and he swept up our toddler to tell him "Mommy is having a baby today!"  H was unimpressed.  I was moaning in a ball on the couch.

We made it to the hospital around 5, and after the roughest cervical check I have ever encountered, a nurse determined I was ONE centimeter dilated.  ONE.  So they thought I was a fraud, as they do.  Did I mention my doctor was out of town?  Yes, she had a one-day conference, and she had told me she was leaving town on Thursday night.  The doctor on-call told me to walk.  For an hour or two.  And then they would check me again.

You guys? I couldn't IMAGINE being sent home.  I couldn't imagine that I could be in so much pain for a measly one centimeter.  I labored at home with H (after being sent home initially, most decidedly not in active labor, but contracting calmly) until 4 centimeters, and the pain was not this great.

So J tried to get me to walk, as I tried not to murder him.  I begged him to tell them that this baby was huge, it was going to rip through my abdomen and thus I needed a c-section.  He tried to talk me down, but after about an hour I was wild with pain.  He went to get the nurse to check my cervix.

Four centimeters.  Finally, they began to take me seriously, and ordered my epidural.

The anesthesiologist, the aptly-named Dr. Fox (who was a breath of fresh air for both his drug-giving abilities and his resemblance to Dermot Mulroney) arrived soon after, as everyone tried to get the epidural ball rolling.  In the midst of this, my screams of pain and the fast and furious contractions probably enticed them to do another check.

Seven centimeters.  In about two hours.

Oh, friends: the epidural at seven.  It just wasn't my friend.  It took an hour for it to begin to work on the pain.  I tried to breathe, and failed spectacularly.  They had to administer so much that my legs were completely numb, which made me panicky.  Eventually I calmed, and I surmise I enjoyed just under two hours of a working epidural.  I floated in and out of consciousness at first.  Then, J and I had a nice chat and confirmed the spelling of our girl's name.  I spoke to Koos and Gina (I think) and my mom on the phone.  J kept everyone up to date via texts and calls.  (He was almost killed once when he texted during a contraction.)

Before 11, my back started to ache a bit.  I couldn't feel it completely, but I thought I should let them know. I hadn't felt anything like this since the epidural kicked in.  They thought the baby might be "sunny-side up", and so they decided to turn me on my right side to get the baby to move.

I'm not sure what finally killed the epidural for me, but I'm guessing it was that turn.  In a matter of minutes, my back radiated with pain, that soon worked it's way to my abdomen.  I was yelling again.  Dr. Fox came back and tried to help.  Soon, the back labor subsided but the abdomen pain remained.  I was ready to push, and the on-call doc assured me the pushing would help that pain.  It did.

I looked at the clock as we began.  I had pushed for three hours with Hendrik, the most grueling workout of my life.  I tried to mentally prepare for two hours of pushing, still hoping it would go much quicker.

The pushing began, and I did well!  I couldn't feel anything in that region (a huge solid, epidural).  The pain was completely concentrated in my abdomen, and the only relief was the strongest pushes I could muster.

This time, I felt like I could actually feel the baby moving through me, making progress.  After a few minutes, the doc got ready to "catch", as they do.  Seeing her in her garb assured me Newbs was almost here.  I was doing it!  I felt incredible.

J was by my side, and really watching the process this time.  "You're doing so great," he kept telling me.  "I can see the baby every time you push!"

And right before those final attempts, he asked, "Last chance: boy or girl?"

"Girl," I told him.

And then she was here.

The most beautiful, GIGANTIC baby you have ever seen.  They put her on my belly, and I prodded her to cry.  She did, and it was once again the most glorious sound you could ever imagine.

J and I cried too, and just repeated, "A girl!  A girl?  I can't believe she is a girl!"

I never knew how much I wanted her until she arrived.  A whooping bundle of perfection at NINE POUNDS, THIRTEEN OUNCES (see: exactly what the sonogram predicted), and 22 inches long!

How did I deliver her?  I have no idea.  My body did its magic, despite my lack of faith.

And she is here and she is ours and she is absolute perfection.  It's amazing how your heart expands.  It's incredible how these babies are worth every minute of that suffering we go through to bring them here.

J and I had named this little girl during our 2006 trip to Colorado, when we learned my great-grandmother's name was Aili (EYE-li).  I told my grandmother how much I loved it.

Just weeks ago, during what was to be the last conversation I would ever have with my Far-Mor, I asked her if she had any idea what the baby was.

"It's hard to say," she told me seriously.  'But, if it is a girl, I would love for her to have my mother's name."

Consider it done, Far-Mor.

Welcome, Ailie.


Koos said...

Look at her! She's just beautiful and perfect, and the size of a two month old! Jk
I hope you are enjoying your daughter and being a mom of two!

gobblesmom said...

This story has me laughing and crying- it's beautiful. Ailie is just precious!

Allie said...

She is so beautiful!!! i cant wait to get my hands on her! I thought it was weird my my girl being so big, it was like i was not holding a "newborn". hope you are all doing well!

Isrut said...

I cried through this entire post- its just beautiful.

I can't believe she was so big. You are amazing.

Homevalley said...

Actually, more like 3 months. I can't wait to chat with you!

Homevalley said...

Thank you! Having a girl and a boy is just awesome, as you are well aware.

Homevalley said...

Don't we look like twins?? I can't wait to get all of these babies together!

Homevalley said...

I was thinking about you when I was writing
; you have such an amazing experience ahead! Hope you are feeling great.

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